Legendary Sports High Schools: Long Beach Poly
Long Beach Polytechnic High School is a public high school located in the southwestern Los Angeles County city of Long Beach, California. With a population of just under 500,000, Long Beach on its own ranks number 36 on the list of the US's most populous cities. As a result of its home city's size, Long Beach Poly, the flagship institution of the Long Beach Unified School District, draws from a diverse group of athletic, academic and entertainment minded students. The school's enrollment is a whopping 5,000 students.
One factual statistic and one expert observation sums up Poly's impact on the American sports landscape. Poly has produced more NFL players than any other high school in the country and in 2005, Sports Illustrated named it the “Sports School of the Century.” After taking a look at the below list of names, you will absolutely know why.
The list of NFL talent includes Eagles star DeSean Jackson, Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, Patriots great Willie McGinist, NFL director of football operations and former 49ers wide receiver Gene Washington, Jets defensive backs coach and longtime NFL safety Mark Carrier and former Cowboys wide receiver Tony Hill.
Below is an ifollosports.com original photo of a recent practice, outside of the 116-year-old school building.
The Jackrabbits play their home games at Veterans Memorial Stadium, on the campus of Long Beach City College. The stadium is located five miles from Long Beach Poly.
Poly's prominent list of sports alumni is not limited to the gridiron. In fact, one of the most influential women in the history of athletics also attended the Long Beach institution.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King not only won 12 grand slam singles titles, she also has contributed more to the equality of women in sports than perhaps any other figure in history. In addition to founding the Women's Tennis Association and Women's Sports Federation, King defeated Bobby Riggs in 1973's “The Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The event took place in front of 30,000 fans at the Houston Astrodome and 50 million worldwide television viewers.
As a result of her contribution to both athletics and society as a whole, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. The USTA National Tennis Center, the site of the US Open, was also renamed in her honor in 2006.
On the baseball diamond, two of the best left handed hitters of the last 30 years, Padres all-time great Tony Gwynn and current Phillies star Chase Utley are both products of the school's illustrious sports history.
Long Beach Poly has also made its mark on the world of entertainment.
Calvin Broadus, better known as musical icon Snoop Dogg, is an alum of the school, as is A-List Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz.
Even though he only attended the school for one year, it's worth mentioning that a native Iowan named Marion Morrison also walked the halls of Poly. Morrison is far better known as the great John Wayne.